I don’t know why I was drawn to the obituary in the Sunday May 30th Contra Costa Times. I do not know Geoff Haskell and I don’t typically read these sad pages, but there I was.
Geoff “died peacefully at home surrounded by his family at the age of 35 with a warm smile, kind eyes and an undeniable spirit” the story said. It dutifully repeated his biography a Bay area guy gets a BA in business administration from University of Arizona, marriage to wife Kendra in 1996, three kids. But that was not what called to me in this story as tragic as any death of colorectal cancer at 35 could be.
Geoff traded that business career he planned for “a higher calling” as a youth minister, went back to school for a Master of Divinity degree and after working in Texas and building houses for those in need in Mexico was called to Centerpointe Presbyterian Church in Pleasanton as youth minister, served as chaplain for the Pleasanton Police Department and Assistant Coach for the Foothill baseball team. But the recession forced him to leave the job he loved to take a job at Pacific Medical as field representative where shortly thereafter he got the cancer diagnosis that scares us all.
Why do things like this happen to good people like this?
God never gives us a direct answer to that pointed question and leaves it to us to wonder what his plan is and why it is so much more important than the obviously good work this young family man was doing. Maybe God just needed a good coach for the Pearly Gates All-Stars baseball team.
Every one of us has a faith journey and Geoff seems to have lived his deliberately without knowing that while his time of earth might be short his love of life could be full of joy—intense and purposeful and surrounded by unconditional love.
It reminds us that every day is a pure and perfect gift from God not to be wasted.